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How does a person know they are a wolf/otherkin?

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Guest Confused Person

How does a person know if they are an otherkin if you've never been an animal? How do we know what an animal thinks? We have a human understanding of animals and we relate through those terms... so how do you know you're an animal? 

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On 1/14/2019 at 5:45 PM, Charias said:

It's a... very difficult thing to explain, so I hope this made sense? At least a little?

You're absolutely making sense, Charias. You're rationally and seriously addressing a very fair and complex question. I'd also like to second the statements made by @Cipher. However, let me try to add my own peak to that "philosophical hill" - for anyone willing to follow me up there:

On 1/14/2019 at 5:45 PM, Charias said:

we can't know for sure how any animal thinks or feels

Correct. But I think we can safely formulate an even stronger statement: none of us can know for sure exactly how any other being thinks, including other humans or other animals. That means: if I would claim to you that I would think like a human, you could still ask me to prove it and I... couldn't. Neither can you. Because there is just no standard pattern of how a human is supposed to think; even if there were such pattern, I still wouldn't know exactly how you think, so I couldn't verify that your thinking actually matches the pattern. Hence, neither of us can prove that they're thinking like a specific animal, or a human; and still, neither of us can disprove an according claim. In other words, we have to trust that everybody thinks just like they do.

And that "paradox" imo leads to exactly three viable options to handle personal people's beliefs which can not be scientifically proven, e.g. the otherkin belief. I'd like to point out that I only refer to beliefs which are reasonably, consistently and persistently taken, and that are not used to reason any violence against other beings, be it mental or physical. This includes, but is not limited to, the belief in the existence of god, the belief to be transgender, or the belief to be otherkin, but e.g. excludes beliefs taken temporarily for sheer fun. Having said that, the three options are as follows:

1) We call all of these beliefs wrong
2) We trust only part of the believers, i.e. we accept only a part of the beliefs and call every person who believes otherwise either wrong or even mad
3) We trust all of the believers, i.e. we accept all of the beliefs, regardless how strange or impossible they might seem

Now, in my opinon, only option 3) is acceptable. Let my try to outline why I think so.

First of all, taking option (1) would essentially mean to call most of the world population wrong. Also, I think it would consequently lead to accepting only things that can be explained by science; however, science fails to explain phenomena we constantly experience. This would e.g. include the phenomenon of conciousness, or feelings like e.g. love. These things would break down to be sheer consequences of electric signals in our central nervous system, the emergence of such would be mostly unknown. In some cases, e.g. the phenomenon of "phantom limbs" as consistently reported by otherkin, not even the biological use would be known. Now, to be honest, this is a fair assumption, but it is one that I just don't want to take because it leaves far too many effects unexplained, including those I'm constantly experiencing myself and can not deny.

Coming to option (2). Now, first of all, because none of the beliefs can be proven better than another, there is no rational reason to accept only part of them. For example, there is no physical observation that verifies the existence of god; on the contrary, current physics' state of knowledge rather indicates the opposite. The same is the case for a person claiming to be transgender: the physical observation indicates the opposite. And yet the same is the case for otherkin. Hence, none of these beliefs is generally more or less provable than another. Secondly, the approach of accepting a specific belief just because the people taking it are in the majority can also be no rational reason, but would simply be unfair. Finally, I'd like to point out that history shows that taking option (2) was used to reason wars against believers who were classified to have the "wrong" belief. People have died in these wars. All in all, this makes option (2) completely inacceptable for me.

Which leaves only option (3): accepting all of such beliefs. Now, what does that mean? It essentially means to take a "working assumption". In science, this term denotes an assumption that needs to be taken although it can not be proven. I will make the implications clear. For example, if a person consistently and persistently claims the personal belief that god exists, and names reasons for this belief, I have no other choice but to accept the working assumption that god actually does exist for that person. If a person likewise claims to be a man in the physical body of a woman... I have no other choice than to accept that this person really is a man in the physical body of a woman. If a person likewise claims to be a wolf in the physical body of a human... I consequently have no other choice than to accept that exactly this is actually the case, as unlikely as it may seem.

Now, many otherkin perfectly match the criteria of consistently, persistently and reasonably taking their belief; the previous post is a good example: @Charias explicitely names the reasons.  The motivation for this belief is oftentimes not even externally triggered; many otherkin take their belief although nobody has ever explicitely told them to do so (which is, by the way, a general difference to a religion). Hence, I have no other choice than to accept that this perception is actually accurate: a person who rationally, consistently, and persistently believes to be non-physically a wolf.. is actually non-physically a wolf.

As for how this can be, there are multiple explanation models. The concept of reincarnation is one of them. There are others, e.g. the multiverse hypothesis, but this is not the place to discuss them.

I'd finally like to point out that the above is a personal opinion of mine which admittedly could be called quite extreme. Maybe I've made a logical mistake. Hence, I'll be more than happy to enter a discusson about it. For the time being, I wish you all the best for the treatment of the headache which emerged by studying this text :toungederg:!

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Obviously, we never will know exactly what an animal thinks or what it feels like. We're simply interpreting our perception of the world based on what we can research about other animals, and it is by nature a human experience; just one that questions philosophically what it means to be human or nonhuman, and interprets personal experiences as being like those of something nonhuman, for however much we know of them.

People who experience phantom or "ghostly" limbs of wolf paws or bat wings have an obvious nonhuman trait that they can look up and research. After that, it's moreso a journey of faith and self-understanding.

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To answer your question from a scientific viewpoint: we can't know for sure how any animal thinks or feels, but human psychology is complex. It's entirely possible for someone to perceive themself as something other than human - and even if there's no factual basis for that, it still has meaning from an introspective and philosophical perspective. 

However, there are many of us who believe in reincarnation to explain why we identify the way we do. This is, of course, a subjective experience; such beliefs are not shared by every otherkin, and I'm sure we're all well aware that any memories of past lives can only be meaningful when considered alongside other experiences, and must be treated with some level of rational scepticism and questioning. But, at the end of the day... I feel like I am non-physically a wolf mainly because I remember actually being a wolf. It's a bit difficult to explain that kind of feeling minus the spiritual beliefs, but eh... it is what it is. Whether or not the life I remember really happened is debatable, obviously, but everything I remember from it is 100% scientifically, biologically accurate. What I experience now, as a person who is a wolf, matches up with what is currently known about canine behaviour and psychology. This may be an elaborate coincidence, of course - but the result is the same. Either I am spiritually a wolf, or I'm psychologically close enough to a wolf to feel like I identify as such.

It's a... very difficult thing to explain, so I hope this made sense? At least a little?

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